Ask An Expert: Growing Vegetables and National Salad Month

(cool) progeny is thrilled to partner with Tastewise Kids on this “Ask an Expert” series! Designed for parents to read with their kids, the Ask an Expert monthly column will introduce you to Baltimore’s farm and culinary professionals so that kids can learn more about our community’s food system. This month? We’re learning about growing veggies and National Salad Month!

What is salad month?

May is National Salad Month and has been since it originated in 1992 by the Association for Dressing & Sauces. Each May, people are encouraged to take the month of May to add healthier choices to their meal planning by incorporating salads more into their lives. TasteWise Kids celebrates National Salad Month to encourage everyone to try healthier eating habits and because it is part of our Days of Taste program. Join us this month as we talk all things salad!

Ask the Expert: Crystal Forman, owner of Holistic Wellness and Health

Tell us about your job and what you do.

I am the owner of Holistic Wellness and Health. I am a chef that teaches people how to cook plant based products to make delicious meals. I am also a food safety educator that helps farms develop standard operating procedures.

How would you describe a perfect salad?

I would start with leafy greens like Romaine or Kale. I would suggest adding a protein such as garbanzo or black beans, nuts, or seeds. It is important for proteins to be healthy fats. I personally like adding fruit to my salads. I add tomatoes and dried fruits. For extra flavor, a dressing that is store bought or homemade can be added.

What do you think are the benefits to including salad in a weekly menu?

It is important because raw produce has so many benefits for our bodies. High enzymes benefit our cells and helps our bodies work better.

Do you have suggestions for ways families can grow vegetables at home?

It does not matter if you have an acre or live in an efficiency. You can grow vegetables anywhere! I suggest starting with container gardens and to start with herbs. Radishes are fun to grow because they go from seed to harvesting in 3-4 weeks.

What are your 3 favorite vegetables to grow?

Lettuce, Kale, Radishes

What are 3 words to describe the benefits of eating salad?

Nutritious, Delicious, Fun

You can follow Holistic Wellness and Health on Facebook, Instagram, or their website.

Ask the Expert: Nick Bailey, Owner of Grand View Farm

Tell us about your job and what you do.

I have owned Grand View Farms since 2012. My job is to take care of animals to make sure they are healthy and have a good life. I get food to the community and customers by fulfilling orders and distributing food. I have a farm store on Saturdays and Sundays.

How would you describe a perfect salad?

A seasonal salad is always the best. Start with ingredients that grow during that time in your area. I like adding a variety of color, different textures, tastes, and flavors. Arugula is a great addition to any salad! I also like to add protein. Adding tomatoes, bacon, cucumbers, onions, and bell peppers are some of my favorites. A perfect salad would be one that tastes good without dressing and that the dressing is a bonus.

What do you think are the benefits to including salad in a weekly menu?

As Americans, we eat too much meat in general for a variety of reasons. Sometimes meat is too easy to access or is cheap. Having a plant based majority to your weekly meal planning is appropriate and important. You can add meat in small portions to any salad. For example, I like thin slices of meat or ham with cabbage on salads.

Do you have suggestions for ways families can grow vegetables at home?

I would encourage everyone to go to the internet to learn. There are videos about everything online and it can help you get started. You can look up a balcony or backyard garden and see what is needed. Everyone can grow something. I would suggest finding the inspiration to grow nutrient rich, clean, healthy food regardless of the area you live in.

What are 3 favorite vegetables to grow?

All Colors of Bell Peppers, Carrots, Broccoli

What are 3 words to describe the benefits of eating salad?

Nutrient-dense, Balanced, Responsible

You can follow Grand View Farm on Facebook, Instagram, or their website.

Salad Month Challenge: Make a Shape Salad!

Are you ready to make a shape salad? Join us for this month’s salad challenge. Here’s what you need…



Step One: Name each shape that you know! What salad ingredients can you find to match each shape? Nuts, tomatoes, and cucumbers make great circles. Leafy greens, croutons, and cut avocado could be squares. Cheese slices, sliced apples, and peppers are good triangles. 

Step Two: Plan your salad. It’s time to gather your ingredients!

Step Three: Wash your ingredients. Prepare by washing your salad shapes.

Step Four: Mix your salad and enjoy! Share your shape salad with a friend.

Take a picture showing how you got dirty for this month’s challenge… and have a parent post it to social media and tag @TasteWiseKids and @CoolProgeny with #TWKAtHome!

Next post Things To Do with Kids in Baltimore: May 14-16

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Tastewise Kids

About the Author Tastewise Kids

TasteWise Kids offers children fun ways to learn about food and inspire a lifetime of positive, healthy eating habits. We empower children to think about food in new ways, to explore their own sense of taste and to realize that flavorful, nutritious food and good health go together – naturally. Kids get to see first-hand where food comes from and learn about the importance of agriculture and respecting their environment.

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